Pederson on Bradford: ‘Sam is a top-notch quarterback’

One of the big offseason questions facing the Eagles, now that Doug Pederson is in place as head coach, is the quarterback position.

The Eagles had very modest success with Sam Bradford last season, but given Bradford's health, the Eagles overall struggles on offense last season and a large payday pending, there is no certainty that Bradford will be back.

In fact, prior to Pederson's introductory press conference, an ESPN report by Josina Anderson said that a source within the Eagles had said that the Eagles were prepared to move on from Bradford given a greater need at so many other positions in the offseason and Bradford's likely asking price.

Pederson, however, didn't seem like he was lacking interest in keeping Bradford, giving the quarterback high praise.

“I think Sam is a quality quarterback, a top-notch quarterback," Pederson said. "Look at what he did the last half of the season. I feel like he’s a quarterback that would fit perfectly into a system I am going to bring."

Bradford threw for 3,725 yards with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 14 games last season. Any decision on Bradford is crucial during the offseason, as the Eagles next in line is Mark Sanchez and the Eagles would likely be looking to establish a franchise quarterback for Pederson, either with Bradford or through the Draft.

Pederson added that he plans to contact Bradford during the offseason. 

"I don’t know him personally," Pederson said. "I think he’s a tremendous player. I liked him coming out of college. He’s someone I want to reach out to and talk and have conversations with."

As someone who worked under Andy Reid, there is a common belief that Pederson's offense will a West Coast style offense. Pederson explained his offensive style and how Bradford would be a fit.

"The core values of the offense are West Coast-ish. We’ve developed a hybrid type system," Pederson said. "We utilize our players and the quarterback’s strengths. I think Sam has got all the tools. There’s no denying that. He’s got good size, a great arm, a good mind for the game and it’s just a matter now of plugging him in and cutting him loose and utilizing his strengths in this system.

"With Sam, I think he brings a whole skill set that benefits him. It is a pass friendly system but yet it’s not so much of a vertical system that people think. You’re seeing more spread-style offenses in the National Football League. Quarterbacks today have the ability to think with their brain and I want to tap into that too and put the offense into a better play in any situation."

So, at least from Pederson's comments, it sounds like the Eagles plan to at least explore the option of bringing him back. Jeffrey Lurie believes that Pederson's playing career as a quarterback will aid the evaluation process and help the team come to a decision on Bradford.

"I think this is the time to leave that to the evaluation process," Lurie said. "We have a new head coach who understands the quarterback position a lot better than I do. I think all the input of someone who really in now in charge of our football team as head coach will have a large influence over that. There were a lot of good things that Sam did and he seemed to get better during the course of the season."

Bradford's raise could allow him to make up to $20 million next season, whether through a long-term deal or a one-year deal under the franchise tag.

The Eagles will have several decision to make regarding the roster, but if Bradford is to be their quarterback, he will be part of the core that Pederson talked about, a core that he thinks could get the Eagles back into a playoff hunt soon.

"I do. There’s some pieces we’ve got to work on, but I think the nucleus of this football team is very good," Pederson said. "It’s structured very well. I do believe that you can put yourself in a position to not only win the East but to get yourself into the postseason and then go deep in the postseason."

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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